iSixSigma

Change Management

The Agreement Process: 3 Steps to Achieve Buy-in

Anyone who has implemented continuous improvement programs understands that employees are the people who make the changes happen. You can force their hands and use managerial authority to direct change, but if team members do not accept and embrace change management, you will not reap the full benefits of change, and sustaining the change will…

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Combine an Improvement Initiative with Change Management

The full value of any improvement initiative is realized only when it is complemented by a robust change management strategy to effectively manage the people side of the change throughout the course of improvement cycle. What Is Change Management? Change management is a systematic approach to transitioning individuals, teams and organizations to a desired future…

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Keep It Super Simple: Five Steps of KISS

KISS stands for “keep it super simple.” There are other definitions of the acronym but they all mean essentially the same thing. Lots of things in life are complex but there is great value in presenting them in a manner that can be easily understood by everyone. The ability to present complex things simply is…

How to Win Support for Continuous Improvement Programs and Projects

Gaining support to implement and sustain a continuous improvement program is an oft-voiced concern of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) practitioners. These concerns reflect frustration in both senses of the term –  feeling frustrated personally and encountering attitudes that frustrate the effectiveness of the program. Three sets of skills and methods have shown success in gaining…

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Three Steps to Deliver Business Results

Executing actions directly aligned to an organization’s strategy is fundamental to achieving success. Strategy with no action is just an idea; action with no strategy is anarchy. Neither scenario enables a company to deliver results. This article explores the three essential steps of achieving success (as defined by a given organization). Successful organizations: 1) define…

Resource Page: Change Management

During the month of August – while many are taking time off to enjoy summer – we will be offering a resource page on a different topic each week. The resource page features an overview of the week’s topic and links to the best related content across iSixSigma (articles, blogs, discussions, Marketplace products and dictionary…

From Shelfware to Implementation

I often think about the losses corporations and government entities take on with initiatives that result in decorative shelfware (the unused products that sit on a buyer’s shelf). There must be millions of great ideas and intelligent business plans just sitting on shelves because of the lack of execution. For all we know the solutions…

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Don’t Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Many years ago I worked in industrial security; I spent many nights patrolling an automotive assembly plant. During this time I would occasionally find flyers written by somebody who called himself the “Sleeping Dog.” The Sleeping Dog was a frequent critic of Lean manufacturing and often described it as management’s excuse to eliminate jobs. He…

Leadership and Lean Six Sigma

Is leadership from the bottom-up better than top-down? How can employees convince and excite their leaders about the opportunities waiting for them with a Lean Six Sigma deployment? The best leadership references on iSixSigma can be found at the following links: Ask the Expert: The Topic – Six Sigma and Employees Developing Change Leadership by…

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Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges with Future-ready Reengineering

Nobody knows what the future holds, but a shared uncertainty about tomorrow creates a forward-leaning opportunity for reinvention. What do customers want from the companies with which they routinely interact? Given the current economic environment that is defined by abiding volatility and uncertainty, people want stable, glitch-free relationships – ones where the only surprises are…

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A Recipe for Continuous Improvement

The following are selected highlights of a corporate leadership profile of H.C. Starck. The complete article – with more details about method and project selection, and the program’s growth beyond the manufacturing floor – is available for purchase on the iSixSigma Marketplace. The almost 100-year-old H.C. Starck knows a thing or two about achieving the right…

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Roadblocks to Implementation

Every Six Sigma project and Lean event goes exactly as planned right? There are many reasons for detours during your project journey; unfortunately, many of these are unpredictable. As much as we try to avoid these pitfalls by following established methodologies or hiring experienced project management personnel, it remains clear that some of the best…

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Six Anchors to Make Change Stick

Through Lean Six Sigma projects and an arsenal of tools, Black Belts make change and manage change. But before Black Belts pat themselves on the back for a job well done, they should consider the following: How deep, pervasive and life altering are the initiated change? What mechanisms were put in place to make the…

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How to Improve Project Cycle Time

A common metric many organizations use to assess the performance of their Lean Six Sigma program is project cycle time – the total time from the beginning to the end of a process improvement project, including total process time and all delays. If your organization’s project cycle time is running higher than your targeted rate,…

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DC Electronics Uses Lean Six Sigma to Stay Competitive

The path to Lean and Six Sigma is different for every company. Some begin a deployment as a means to increase productivity or profitability; others start with encouragement from a new leader. For DC Electronics, the journey stemmed from an unlikely combination of circumstances – unprecedented business growth and a bit of tough love from a…

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Building a Six Sigma Project Team

If you were selecting a basketball team, what criteria would you use to select the players? What about if you were selecting an academic team? If the selection of a process improvement team were the objective, what criteria would you use? The answers to these questions may seem simple, but Belts can sometimes make things…

Driving Six Sigma Success Without Top-level Support

Common wisdom about Six Sigma is that top-level executive support is one of the prerequisites for having a successful deployment, regardless of the organization. Almost all Six Sigma training materials (either developed in-house or delivered by external consultants) for Green Belts and Black Belts focuses extensively on how executive support is critical for the success…

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Workshops Open Up 2011 iSixSigma Energy Forum in Houston

Three exceptional workshops opened up the third annual iSixSigma Energy Forum for Process Excellence, being held May 16-19 at the Westin Oaks Hotel in Houston. The workshops, attended May 16 by a host of leaders in the oil & gas and utilities sectors, were as follows: “Change Management: The Cornerstone of a Successful Lean Six…

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Managing Performance Factors: A Sample Checklist

In the May/June issue of iSixSigma Magazine, the article, “Taking the Next Step: How to Eliminate Errors for Good,” offers an approach for managing human performance factors in an effort improve processes in service organizations. An excerpt of a checklist used to measure human performance factors and gauge risk is featured in the magazine article….

Finding the Balance Between Leadership and Management

The first article of this series discussed how a number of Lean initiatives either fail outright or fail to deliver as planned. Furthermore, the first article went on to attribute these shortcomings to four cultural factors: an organization’s purpose, its leadership, how it treats its people and how the organization views continuous improvement. This article…

Controlling Change in IT Departments Using DMAIC

During a Six Sigma project at an information technology (IT) department, there are many good reasons why a process or a system needs to change. There also are a few bad reasons – bad, but unavoidable. It’s up to the practitioners to decide how to transform bad reasons into good ones, and how to prevent…

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Too Customer-Centric?

My son played football in high school, and one of the things that “football parents” were asked to do was to work at the stadium concession stand a few times during the season. Lucky me, I got to work at the cash register. This included filling orders for candy, gum, and drinks as well as…

The Devil’s in the Details (of the Data)

When I teach lean concepts, it’s easy to talk about the concepts of timing the process steps. Most people nod their heads and say, yes, they get it. The idea is easy – each step has a start and a stop. But when I work with teams, it doesn’t seem to be so easy to work…

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Understanding the Impacts of Change

As improvement project leaders, Belts can sometimes lose track of an important factor in the success of a project: the impact that any changes stemming from the project will have on the stakeholders. As they rush quickly into data collection and employ tools such as failure mode and effects analysis, cause and effect matrix and…

Make It a Team Effort: Involving Employees Can Lead to Lasting Solutions

Problem solving teams are often confronted with resistance to change. Even if the change is positive, employees are not always willing to embrace the improvements identified through DMAIC projects. However, by involving the employees to solve problems together, instead of providing solutions for them, practitioners can help assure that employees not only buy into process…

Study Shows Physician Involvement in Improvement Projects Helps Sustain Changes

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) National Research Network and the American College of Physicians released a study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Physicians (JABFM) in September showing how including both physicians and non-physicians on process improvement teams can help better facilitate change management, according to an article by David…

Using the DMAIC Model to Achieve Buy-in

When project managers begin studying Lean Six Sigma, the first question asked is often, “How will I get buy-in?” Although the core concepts and methodologies may make sense to project managers, the question of buy-in sometimes overshadows this powerful methodology for process improvement. There are many root causes for why people are reluctant to lend…

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Six Sigma in Sales?

Posts on the iSixSigma Discussion Forum reveal the common roadblocks for implementing Six Sigma in the sales department. However, the thread below also offers helpful tips for overcoming these obstacles.

U.K. Study: Change Management Can Reap High ROI

A recent study from the United Kingdom found that expenditures on change management activities can reap huge rewards for relatively little cost, with a return on investment (ROI) as high as 650 percent. According to the report from British consulting firm Changefirst, more than 40 percent of the 2,500 change managers surveyed from 120 organizations…

Improving Health

Healthcare is on everyone’s mind nowadays, from individuals to the government. Employers often try to lower healthcare expenses by sponsoring wellness programs. How effective are these programs? Not much, according to a report by the National Institute for Health Care Reform: While employer wellness programs have spread rapidly in recent years, few employers implement programs…

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

“Transformation” – One of the most overused words of the last decade…and at the same time, one of the most underreported phenomenon happening in the world today. Literally, much of the main stream media, academia and “so called experts” are missing the most important story of the day. The break-neck speed of global transformation driven…

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Sustaining Change with the SUCCESS Model

Any change to a process is only successful in the long run if the stakeholders truly adopt and sustain the change. Process and technology improvements cannot be implemented without a change in the hearts, minds and behaviors of the people involved in the change. True adoption and sustainability requires thoughtful planning and focus, which should…

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A-Gift from Quality

Quality tool books are full of terms, acronyms and charts that can make a non-quality professional faint of heart (some quality professionals as well). Here is how to change the “policing” perception to one of “a-gift” giver to your bottom line. A-GIFT A ccept G ather I mplement F ollow-up T 3 (track, transfer and…

Carrots

It’s common for me to have conversations about how to motivate people to accept change. For those of us who are early adopters, it’s not a problem; we kinda like doing something new. But, from those whose favorite radio station isWII-FM*, I hear this song: “This new process looks harder, not easier. In fact, you’re…

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Culture Change at Cameron

Again and again, culture change comes up as one of the most important aspects of a successful Six Sigma deployment. Yet effecting culture change is one of the most difficult parts to master. Almost 50 percent of respondents to a 2007 iSixSigma survey said their company was far from achieving its desired culture change (“Organizational…

From the Bottom Up: Grassroots Effort Finds Footing at Chevron

“Train and hope for the best.” Acting on that tenuous proposition, a small group of Chevron Corp. employees initiated a business unit deployment of Six Sigma eight years ago. The odds that it would spread enterprise wide were not good. But fueled by proponents’ zeal and impressive results, the grassroots effort crossed national and business…

Addressing Six Sigma Concerns From The Skeptics

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary states, “skepticism implies an unwillingness to believe without conclusive evidence.” Sometimes a little skepticism – or at least curiosity – can be a healthy thing. For instance, one should probably not begin taking a new medication without asking a few pertinent questions such as, “What are the side effects,” “How will this interact…

Managing Six Sigma Change Resistance

A critical component of any successful Six Sigma project is to overcome resistance to change. The reason: Without user acceptance, any process improvement is doomed to fail. Therefore, proper anticipation and understanding the approaches to various resistance tactics is essential to success. People resist change in the workplace in many ways, but among the more…

The Role of Human Resources (HR) in Six Sigma

Chances are you’ve heard of Six Sigma, perhaps in connection with General Electric, the company that made it popular in the 1990s. You may even know that Six Sigma uses statistical techniques to improve processes in both manufacturing and service industries. But did you know there is an important role for Human Resources (HR) in…

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Catalyzing Change: A Turnaround Success

Imagine you run a manufacturing business and a surprise government labor inspector hands more than 21 citations for serious worker safety (OHSA) violations. Add to this an order that gives you only six months to show 100 percent compliance or face shutdown. This true story explains the elements that took this company from near collapse to…

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Communication Strategies for Six Sigma Initiatives, Part 2

Making the decision to bring Six Sigma into your organization is just the first step on a long journey. Although this approach has proven successful for a variety of industries (including manufacturing, transactional and professional services), the best-laid plans may go awry if the focus is solely on the technical side, without considering the cultural…

My Business Is Different, Six Sigma Won’t Work

If you think Six Sigma won’t work for your company, you are either ignorant or refuse to change. Every business process can be measured, improved and controlled using the Six Sigma methodology. Reading the iSixSigma Discussion Forum unearthed a thread about the application of Six Sigma to Facilities Management: When it comes to the implementation…

Facilitation: A Critical Soft Skill For Success

Much has been written about the techniques and tools of Six Sigma. A large part of Black Belt training is focused on mastering the “hard” skills. Most case studies demonstrate the usefulness of tools or techniques. Any experienced, successful practitioner of Six Sigma will tell you that the soft skills of facilitating a group are…